You went to the Balkans?
Similar to Adina's internship made possible by the Dickey Center's Global Health Internship Program, I had the opportunity to study at the Rochester Institute of Technology Kosovo (RIT Kosovo) and intern at the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA) in the summer of 2016 thanks to the the Dickey Center's Security and Development Program. At RIT Kosovo, I was taught by former State Department, Marine, UN, and other officials present in the Balkans during the Bosnian and Kosovo Wars. Many of these professors had also served in other regions including Louis Sell, who was in the Soviet Union the night the government collapsed. At the KPA, I had the opportunity to witness how a country recovers after a devastating civil war. The KPA is mandated to return land to property owners who fled during the war. This process was complicated by three factors. First, much of the land in Kosovo is passed down through generations so legal proof of landownership is often hard to come by. Second, many of the landowners who fled their homes passed away in the time between the war and the KPA's mandate; even so, KPA must confirm the death of the landowner and identify the new beneficiary of the land. Third, much of the land sold in Kosovo was transferred via verbal agreement--both before and after the war--making it difficult to tell who actually owns the land. I loved traveling across the Balkans and meeting citizens in several different countries. I visited Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia Herzegovina. Though not the typical vacation spot for Americans, the Balkans is a beautiful and welcoming place. In addition, I enjoyed meeting students from US and European universities--many of whom I still talk to today.